MILWAUKEE -- Tuesday's season-opening win over Brooklyn Nets, Tuesday night, saw the Milwaukee Bucks hand out their championship rings. They also unveiled the banner that commemorates the franchise's first ever championship in 50 years.
"Milwaukee! We did it!" Bucks forward Khris Midton told the Fiserv Forum crowd during the pre-game ceremony, "Milwaukee! "We did it!"
In two years, the NBA had not opened a season without a banner-raising ceremony. The COVID-19 pandemic meant that fans were not permitted to enter the Staples Center during the opening night of the last season. Therefore, the Los Angeles Lakers had to wait until May before unveiling their banner.
Milwaukee has waited for another NBA championship since 1971. The arena was packed to the rafters, and there was a stage outside in Deer District where fans could remember the Bucks' achievements before the new season.
Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer stated before the game, "It's an important night." It symbolizes or signifies something that the team has achieved. It's something you will treasure for the rest your life.
Players had not yet seen the championship rings prior to Tuesday's ceremony, even though Giannis Antetokounmpo had provided some input. Antetokounmpo had joked earlier this week that he only wanted a larger ring than the one his brother Kostas got with the Lakers last year, which he likened to an AirPods case.
The Bucks' championship ring, however, is huge.
It features 360 diamonds at the top, 16 emerald shaped diamonds on each side and 16 emerald shaped diamonds in the bottom. On one side, the ring has the phrase "Fear the Deer" and the jersey number. The words "Bucks In 6" were on the opposite side. This was the rallying cry of fans during the Finals run. A removable top has a QR code beneath that plays highlights from the season when it is scanned.
Marc Lasry, Bucks owner, said to the crowd that "To Milwaukee is the beginning of many, many champions" during the ceremony.